July 26, 2019 / 5:18 AM / 2 months ago

Factbox: How Australia plans to curb Facebook and Google's market power

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has found, after an 18-month investigation, that Google and Facebook hold enormous power in the country’s online advertising and news distribution markets, and that antitrust and privacy laws have not caught up to the real world.

The antitrust watchdog recommended:

* The world’s first dedicated office inside the anti-trust regulator for policing the tech giants’ market power

* Tasking the office with investigating the digital ad market

* Overhauling privacy laws so people know and can delete what’s being stored

* Establishing codes of conduct for online giants dealing with media companies and handling complaints about online misinformation

* Strengthening the ability of copyright owners to remove their content from Google and Facebook

* Forcing Google to offer alternatives to its searches and browser on Android devices

* Changing merger laws to include data and technology implications, and strengthen anti-competitive rules

Regulators around the world are trying to rein in Facebook and Google. Other recent instances include:

* A report for Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for a digital markets regulator which would produce a code of competitive conduct

*A European Commission report saying a new regulatory regime may be needed to apply antitrust rules to digital companies

*The U.S. Federal Trade Commission starting a task force to monitor technology markets, and beginning an investigation into Facebook

Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Byron Kaye; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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